Environmental Studies



Environmental problems arise from the complex interactions between ecological and physical systems and the social, economic, political and cultural forces that shape the world in which we live. The mission of the Environmental Studies Department at McDaniel is to promote environmental sustainability through an interdisciplinary academic curriculum anchored in the natural, physical, and social sciences.  Finding solutions to environmental problems requires well-trained scientists, researchers, policy makers, planners, resource managers, and specialists who can understand system interactions and develop solutions that draw from a variety of disciplines. We prepare students for this challenge.

McDaniel College participates in the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.

Lewis Recitation Hall and Lewis Hall of Science

Dr. Mona Becker
Department Chair
(410) 857-2492

Enviromental Studies Online Catalog

Major & Courses

Since environmental concerns are so broad, we designed the Environmental Studies program to offer students a liberal arts experience that addresses a diversity of environmental issues, while providing detailed training in specific fields. After graduation, students may pursue graduate studies in a number of disciplines or follow career paths as policy analysts, environmental consultants, environmental health specialists, urban or regional planners, science educators, or naturalists.

Three program tracks include:

Students may elect to complete a minor in Environmental Studies too.


Assistant Professor and Department Chair Mona BeckerAssistant Professor and Department Chair Mona Becker

(Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook), teaches Environmental Problem Solving, Environmental Geology, Energy and the Environment, Wetlands Chemistry and other environmental science courses and takes frequent excursions into the field with students to explore environmental topics firsthand. An avid proponent of service-learning, Dr. Becker and Chemistry professor Melanie Nilsson are conducting studies on several Lakota reservations in South Dakota to explore academic and service-learning opportunities.

Jason ScullionAssistant Professor Jason Scullion

(Ph.D., University of Washington) teaches courses in environmental policy and management, conservation biology, and sustainability. Dr Scullion holds a PhD in Environmental and Forest Sciences and master’s degrees in Public Administration and Forest Resources from the University of Washington. His research is focused on addressing environmental conservation issues, particularly improving forest and wildlife conservation efforts in frontier forest landscapes in the Americas. His current research includes identifying globally relevant best practices for forest conservation efforts in deforestation hotspots, and developing practical approaches to identify priority conservation sites and habitat corridors in the Peruvian Amazon.


Each year graduating seniors in the Environmental Studies Department complete a capstone project focusing on their interests. Many students have investigated topics regarding ways McDaniel College can use alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power to become more sustainable. After graduation these students will be prepared to work as policy analysts, science researchers, environmental consultants, environmental health specialists, urban or regional planners, science educators, or naturalists. Our current graduates already serve in a variety of local, state, and federal agencies, educational institutions, as well as for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.

A sample of recent student-faculty research collaboration includes:

Student Professor Topic
Gordon S. Lyons Dr. Scott Hardy, Dr. Mona Becker Establishing Bat (Chiroptera) Biodiversity Standards in the Iwokrama Forest for Sustainable Development
Marcus Carter Dr. Scott Hardy, Dr. Mona Becker Measuring the Effectiveness of Residential Energy Incentives in Prince Georges County Maryland
Kerri Morrison Dr. Scott Hardy, Dr. Mona Becker Institutional Dimensions of Farmland Conservation: An Application of the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework to the Conservation Reserve Program

McDaniel College’s location in the greater Washington-Baltimore region allows us to offer a number of valuable internship opportunities through government and consulting agencies. We also encourage students to take part in the institution’s Washington Partnership Internship Program. Additionally, there are many opportunities for students to take part in internationally based courses and internships, for example, the Field Studies Program, SIT and the Political Science Semester in Washington, D.C. (either through the American University or through George Washington University).

Field Research
Thanks to a generous grant from the Margaret A Cargill Foundation exceptional students are provided the opportunity to conduct field research at exciting locations around the world. Past students have worked with the Panthera Organization protecting wildlife habitats in Myanmar, and partnered with scientists in South Africa to map conservation corridors

You might also be interested in joining the Environmental Action Club and/or belong to the Environmental Studies Honor Society. These two student groups often work together to organize activities such as tree plantings in local parks, Earth Day celebrations on campus, and Recyclemania  — a nationwide recycling contest between college campuses.

McDaniel also has a local chapter of the Green Leaf National Honor Society, established to recognize and reward the brightest students throughout the country who are studying some aspect of the natural environment as college undergraduates. Juniors with a 3.75 overall GPA and seniors with a 3.50 overall GPA may apply to the Green Leaf National Honor Society.